8 thoughts on “Navy Chow is the Best!”

  1. Sometimes It was a damn sight better than the Air Force chow hall..and oftentimes the only place to eat….k

    1. True! I’ve had a lot more AF chow in my career than Navy. Avoid anything exotic. And it is hard to screw up Mexican. . .

  2. 32nd Street Naval Station in Sandy Eggo was reputed to have the best galley on the Left Coast, if not the entire Navy, back then. Being prior service, I went directly to 32nd Street to draw my kit and get all my shots (another story for another time) before heading further west. I recall thinking “Damn, this sure beats Army chow!”

  3. It’s all abut experiences and perception. I was in the Army and in 1984 we went to Japan as part of Michinoku 84, an exercise with the JGSDF. We were there for a few months, shooting with the Japanese and generally had a good time. But we ate Army Chow. When we returned we went through an AF base for our flight home. For the life of me I can’t remember which one (yes, I am getting to that age!). The AF hosted us and fed us. My first foray through the AF chow hall was for breakfast. The egg cook was an E-5 (Staff Sgt?) and he asked me how I wanted my eggs.
    “How do you want those cooked?”
    I understand all those words individually but strung together like that they just make no sense.
    “Eggs. Your eggs. How you want them?”
    Oh. Well, OK then. Over easy perhaps? Said with a distinct lack of comprehension. Or hope.
    “Coming right up.” Said with a smile.
    Halfway done he decided they were overcooked so he swept them off the grill and did them again. Perfectly. Served with a grin and a hearty “Enjoy!” The rest of the line consisted of perfectly cooked breakfast offerings with nary a burned nor underdone item in sight. No SOS, no greasy alleged hash browns, no hard tack toast. All I could eat and as an Artilleryman in an Infantry division I could eat a lot. No one so much as blinked at seconds, thirds and even fourths. We had to have eaten the AF out of a weeks worth of rations at one sitting but they just smiled and kept shoveling it at us. I never wanted to leave. Top had to physically drag me out.
    The next time I went through the Army Chow Hall I asked the PFC cook to make me some over easy eggs. He laughed, scooped out a heap of runny scrambled and plopped them on my plate with a scowl and a ‘can you believe this guy’ look to his fellow cooks. I knew in that moment that I had indeed chosen the wrong branch of service.
    Dang Army recruiter. May he eat T-Packs for breakfast the rest of his miserable life!

  4. Flugelman: I’ve eaten at the NEX down there, never the galley. I am over at 32nd St maybe once a month. I may try it out. . .
    Six: That is a great story! I did not join the Army because I don’t like camping. But the Army recruiter (a SFC) was a great guy. He kept calling me after I went Navy. “Let’s have a bowl of soup sometime,” he told me last. I never took him up on it. . .

  5. We’ve definitely got the Army beat, once had a fried chicken, at Fort Ord, that was burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Apparently the cooks had tossed a frozen chicken into the deep frier (this was before fried turkey was popular), I couldn’t eat chicken for years after that one.

    Inspecting the mess (for the folks who haven’t been in the Navy: an officer, usually the Officer of the Deck or the Command Duty Officer, inspects and samples the mess daily, if not at every meal) was generally an interesting task. The food was usually institutional average to pretty good (unless the Supply Officer got too creative, an incident involving pig’s feet comes to mind) depending on the cooks , the catering officer and the state of the supplies (this last was a function of how long we’d been at sea, time since last UNREP or if we were in a foreign port). One thing about is that when the cooks are preparing four meals a day (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and midrats) for several hundred to several thousand crewmembers, every day, they are aiming at the middle of the bell curve in terms of taste and seasoning and can’t really make things too spicy for the folks who prefer food bland. (For an intersting read on the subject there was a cookbook that tested the recipes at a San Diego culinary class). Used to get some novel complaints, usually on the order of “my mom doesn’t make it this way” or “why don’t they have (insert favorite obscure regional dish here)”, there were pretty much always a wide array of condiments available, so it wasn’t hard to season things to one’s own taste. I will agree that the soy/beef hamburger blend slider patties were a step in the wrong direction, also, as with pretty much any cycle menu, things can get monotanous (especially if the supply folks goofed and ordered so much of a particular food that it appeared almost constantly). I suspect that the biggest part of the problem is that, while at sea, if a particular item is not what one wants, it’s pretty hard to either order out or go someplace else.

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